Attorney William J. Stewart was confirmed and sworn in as Judge for Montesano Municipal Court on June 14, during the City Council meeting.
Stewart, who served 29 years as the Hoquiam Municipal Court Judge, was unanimously confirmed to the Montesano bench after former Judge Christopher Bates died during his term in March. Stewart had retired from his previous court position at the end of 2017, but was continuing to practice law out of his Montesano office.
Montesano Mayor Vini Samuel made the confirmation at the top of the meeting agenda and noted Stewart’s extensive career when introducing him to the council.
“I have asked William Stewart, a longtime attorney and lifelong resident of the city of Montesano to fulfill the term that was vacated by Judge Bates due to his passing,” Mayor Samuel said. “I didn’t open it up to ask multiple attorneys. I chose not to do that because I have every confidence in Mr. Stewart.”
Mayor Samuel went on to explain that she felt Stewart was the best person for the role given he had prior experience as judge pro tem in Montesano and wanted someone who was comfortable with the city’s court system.
Before taking his oath to be sworn in, Stewart thanked the mayor for selecting him to serve the city and gave his gratitude to former Judge Bates.
“I want to thank you for your confidence in me. This is certainly not the way that anyone would want to step into this job. I have very large shoes to fill,” Stewart said. “Chris Bates was a terrific, well-respected attorney and was doing great work as judge, but I’m more than happy to fill in and help the city for the rest of his term.”
Steward concluded in his brief speech that as of right now, he views this appointment as short term and could consider the idea of letting another judge take over as “two years from now, you know maybe I’m not going to want to keep doing it.”